photo Â© 2011 Paul Sapiano | more info (via: Wylio)
I recently met an older acquaintance of mine. He seems to be unhappy with some of his loved ones who are acting in ways he doesn’t like. He doesn’t talk about it too much but his anger, pain, frustration and resignation are evident in his talks.
If this is how you feel too, this post is for you.
When you have expectations from others, you are bound to suffer. It does not matter how genuine or right or moral your expectations are to you, if you have them, you are going to be disappointed and frustrated.
You may believe that all relationships will invariably have some expectations associated. I disagree, this is just an excuse to mask your own weaknesses. With sufficient effort and constant monitoring, anyone can have relationships that are free of expectations. Before marriage, when my wife was my girlfriend, I expected her to act in a certain way I thought was right. The result was a lot of disagreements, fights and bad feelings. Over time, I have learned to let go off expectations(and she has too). And this does not mean the bond between us is any weaker. If anything, our relationship allows a lot of respect, freedom and sharing. We are both inherently happy individuals. We don’t seek our happiness in each other and we have a very low set of expectations, if any, from each other, or from anybody else. This keeps our happiness mostly independent of any body’s actions.
People do best, and are the most happy, helpful and loving, when they are given space to follow their own calling and grow. Let everyone take their own path of discovery in life.
If you fear that the path of your loved ones will take them away from you, rest assured, it’s all for the good. Don’t cling on to things, you will only scratch your fingers. Let them go with love and they will come back in time. In the meanwhile, carry on your own journey and make new friends.
If it is their well being you are worried about, understand that you will have to let go of them for their own good. It will help them to make some mistakes, learn from them and become self-reliant.
As far as your happiness is concerned, you don’t depend on others for it. Being happy is a conscious commitment that you make to yourself. If you are not happy, you are the only one responsible. No one can make you happy and no one can take it away from you.
Your complaints against others are a window to your soul.
Observe what you say when you are deriding others. The things we hate in others are, surprisingly, what we hate in ourselves. It may sound incredulous but some deep self-analysis should make this clear. It is difficult for the ego to accept it’s own faults, so, when faced with the realization, it immediately puts the same thing on others.
For example, if you think your loved ones don’t communicate with you as much as you would want, look deeper. Is this what you have been doing to others all the while? If so, with whom, according to you, should the change start?
If you think you can argue with people and make them see you are right, you are just being stupid. When you argue with people, they automatically become defensive. All they(and you) will be doing is to defend their point of view. You will never, NEVER be able to make them consider your ideas. When your belief is that you are right and the other is wrong, people always somehow sense this attitude and reciprocate with the same. This leads to a deadlock, always!
The only way to change this situation is to approach the situation with an impartial attitude. Before you say you already do that, think for a moment. It’s way too easy to see the faults in others. It’s equally difficult and uneasy to accept that a fault lies inside yourself.
You will have to consciously and repeatedly make an attempt to consider the case impartially, to give equal thought and weightage to the other point of view. It takes a lot of continuous practice to leave our selfish selves and be able to get into the shoes of those whom we disagree with, and see things as they see them.
Accepting there is a problem.
Before you solve a problem, you have to accept it exists. So many people don’t accept there is a problem. They will be irritated or troubled by what someone else is doing but will refuse to accept it. They see it as a sign of weakness or fear social ridicule.
You have 2 choices in such a case – One, you can continue denying the problem and refuse to face it because of the immediate discomfort it entails. Or, second, you can show some courage, face the uncomfortable truths, find a solution, no matter how hard it seems, and be done with the problem once and for all.
The first option seems easy in the short run. People do this all the time, they will postpone something they realize is good but will require them to get out of their comfort zone. They will keep ignoring till the problem becomes so big that it is way more difficult to mange it now. This applies to so many things in life – health, relationships, happiness… This option is for the weak. Most of them will not even make a conscious decision to take this option, they will sort of procrastinate their way into it by avoiding the tough questions.
The second option is that of the brave. It is the option that requires courage and determination to lead a better life, to look a threatening, nagging, frustrating problem in the face with determination and finishing it once and for all.
The first option will lead to decrease in comfort and increase in problem with time. The second option will lead to the opposite – increase in comfort and decrease in the problem with time.
Make your choice.
Accepting your role and making the change.
This step is even harder than the previous one. Once you have accepted their is a problem, you have to understand your part in it. For any problem between you and someone else, you share a part of the responsibility. Unless you can stop deriding the other person and look inwards for the causes within you, you can kiss a solution good bye.
Ask yourself how you are causing this situation. The answer may not come right away as your ego(strengthened by years of denial) will deny any responsibility. Be persistent and be humble, keep the goal in mind. You will get the insights you need. Once you find your own mistakes and fix them, the problem may already be solved. There is also the possibility that it may not be solved. There might be grudges the other person might hold on to, there might be things he probably should change but is not willing to. Stop the urge to tell him what to do. Just decide your response to the situation. You may offer your advice humbly but it is for that person to take it or not. Let him go on his own journey, he will return.